Omega 3's fatty acids have a vital role to play in our bodies. These are what is known as 'essential fatty acids' meaning that we need to obtain them from our food. The most well-known Omega-3's are eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), which are predominantly found in oily fish - which is thought to provide an answer as to why certain populations such as the Eskimos and the Japanese (who tend to have a high fish intake) tend to have lower rates of chronic diseases such as heart disease. Unfortunately, here in Australia 4 out of 5 do not get enough Omega'-3's either through eating fish or via supplementation.
Studies have shown that Omega-3's are good for our bodies, by:
- Helping us form healthy cell membranes - which we need for our cells to work effectively to maintain fluid balance and allow beneficial compounds such as oxygen and nutrients into the cells, and wastes out.
- Being good for our heart and blood vessels, including playing a role in cholesterol levels and blood pressure. People with higher Omega-3 levels have been shown to have lower risk of heart disease.
- Contributing to healthier brain function (right from the time we are a fetus through to maintaining cognitive function in our older years) and mental health. Higher Omega-3's have also been shown to have a beneficial effect on depression, bipolar disorder and ADHD.
- Playing a role in maintaining eye health - having higher levels of omega-3's has been shown to be related to better vision development and a lower rate of macular degeneration.
- Slowing the ageing process, and people with higher Omega-3 levels have a higher life expectancy than those with low levels
So it goes without saying that we want to make sure that we are getting enough of these beneficial nutrients. However, how do you know if your intake is correct, and whether it is actually providing a benefit to your body?
Now we can quickly and economically test your body's levels of Omega 3's, with the Omega 3 Index Test.
This test has just become available to practitioners such as myself and I am really excited about the potential for this test to provide us with an invaluable insight into how your omega 3 levels may be playing a role in your health (or lack thereof). The Omega-3 Index Test assesses the levels of these essential fatty acids that are forming part of your red blood cell membranes - which provides us with an accurate insight into your intake over the past 4-6 months. The Omega-3 Index Test also checks your levels of unhealthy trans fats, and the ratio of Omega-6 to Omega-3 (which can play a role in driving many common health conditions if it is out of whack).
The test can be performed easily at the clinic as an optional extra during an Initial or Follow-Up Appointment.